Roscoe Mitchell: soprano, alto, tenor & bariton saxophones, percussion | Harrison Bankhead: double bass, cello | Vincent Davis: drum set, percussion
Recorded December 23rd & 24th 2005, January 10th & February 18th 2006 by Steve Gotcher & Buzz Kemper at Audio for the Arts (Madison, Wi, USA). Mixing: Steve Gotcher & Buzz Kemper. Mastering: Steve Gotcher. Liner notes: Steve Dalachinsky. Photographs: Joseph Blough. Producer: Michel Dorbon
Tracklist: CD ONE NO SIDE EFFECTS 1. Poem (6.23) 2. Flash (5.24) 3. From Red to Rusk (4.48) 4. Broken Pictures (4.23) 5. Shake-up (8.10) 6. Trio Four (4.36) 7. No Side Effects (3.12) 8. Frame Three (6.30) 9. Shag Bark Hickory (2.25) 10. Let’s See (3.57) 11. Ruddy (4.20) 12. Vermillon (4.12) 13. When the Wind Blows (6.11)
Tracklist: CD TWO FRAMES 1. Parched Plain (13.38) 2. Shore Line (5.22) 3. An Afternoon Walk (6.02) 4. Enfold (6.56) 5. Frame Two (2.51) 6. They Danced (3.35) 7. Ride (3.41) 8. Here We Go (3.39) 9. Rolling (6.15) 10. Yellow Night (6.41) 11. Sway 2.53)
All compositions by Roscoe Mitchell
Higher and higher!
Each time we think Roscoe Mitchell has reached the top, he comes back with another groundbreaking recording and this new opus is no exception to the rule. Thanks to three perfectly balanced and complementary musicians, Roscoe Mitchell finds all necessary space to spread his genius. Bringing all necessary understanding and vigour to his music, Harrison Bankhead on bass and Vincent Davis on drums take this recording to the top. Like he gets us used to, Roscoe Mitchell has improvisation and composition intimately cohabit with perfect control. They don’t come up against each other but complement one another with spontaneity, sophistication, smoothness, conviction and flickness. « No Side Effects » is the best possible evidence Roscoe Mitchell still has a lot to say and will keep on surprising us.
Harrison Bankhead, Vincent Davis, Roscoe Mitchell (from left to right) Photo by Joseph Blough
A landmark recording as much as a powerful statement
this two-disc set features a trio comprised of leader Roscoe Mitchell on a selection of woodwind instruments that offers a wide range of tonalities with longtime collaborators Harrison Bankhead on bass as well as cello, and Vincent Davis on drums. Mitchell achieves a fine equilibrium between introspection, angularity, and intensity. His stellar and unfettered blowing, which relies on his trademark circular breathing technique, gets its share of the spotlight, usually over a barrage of cymbal crashes and Bankhead’s frenetic bowing. When he switches to the flute or the bass saxophone, his delivery becomes aerial or stately, respectively. The performance has a timeless quality since Mitchell only tries to fulfill his artistic mission, makes no concession to trends, and refuses to compromise with his ideas. In this endeavor he is supported by two sidemen who have reached an impressive confidence level. Davis shows restraint when needed and impresses with his sense of placement as well as his pertinent cymbal accents. The great and overlooked Bankhead can be alternatively mournful and muscular, and his sound is no less than magnificent. Mitchell penned all the compositions and whether they are fierce or serene they always come to a full resolution. They are also adroitly sequenced to give the recording a remarkable balance. No Side Effects simply finds Mitchell at the peak of his creative powers. — Alain Drouot
Vincent Davis, Roscoe Mitchell, Harrison Bankhead | Photo by Joseph Blough
The Art Ensemble linchpin and stalwart Wisconsin resident
has put out a few clunkers over the past few years, but this double disc follow-up to last year’s Turn certainly isn’t among them. Tailored to trio interpretations, the sprawling program of original compositions on No Side Effects places daunting emphasis on his cache of reeds and winds in settings that range from full-bore blowouts to classically colored meditations. Harrison Bankhead’s presence in the bass chair pushes the date a few pegs higher and his massive technique is on pervasive display. Rounding out the trio, drummer Vincent Davis is further proof that Mitchell’s Chicago ties still run deep. — Derek Taylor
Harrsison Bankhead, Vincent Davis, Roscoe Mitchell | Photo by Joseph Blough
Very few musicians have made a first statement like Roscoe Mitchell’s
sound recorded for Delmark in 1966. Like the proverbial big bang’s reverberations, all of his subsequent work consists of gestures from but not confined to that era and the freedom it fostered.
Mitchell’s recordings can elicit a deeply intuitive but ultimately inexplicable sense of unification in the face of superficial diversity, and this newest double disc is no exception. The pieces can consist of the quickest whiplash and spike-driven trio squall, though, astonishingly, a degree of control is always in evidence. The aptly named “Flash is a case in point, Mitchell’s quick-shod saxophone swirls skirting tempo with stunning precision while Harrison Bankhead provides rock-solid but supple bass accompaniment; Vincent Davis is similarly solid, enlarging Rashied Ali’s sonic palette with slight hints of swing and funk.
Yet, it is Mitchell’s repetitions, those fragmentary manifestations of eternal recurrence, that hint at the set’s binding aesthetic. A track like “Poem demonstrates the other extreme, as long drones slowly drift, evolve, revert and disappear. Bankhead and Mitchell engage in the gorgeous counterpoint that has long been a part of Mitchell’s compositional language; Davis breathes consent, exuding newly liquefied moments of glacial rumblings and slow waves.
The collection hinges on this fast/slow dialectic, each small part representative of the whole. The programming is as convincing as the playing, as Mitchell showcases flute, baritone saxophone and percussion cage on a diversely satisfying set of trio workouts, some composed and some improvised. Sometimes the lines are blurred so badly as to make those distinctions irrelevant—so much the better! This is as interesting and exciting a release as can be found in Mitchell’s dauntingly large discography. — Marc Edwin
Double CD version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)